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Full text of "Verdict On India"

SEARCHLIGHT  ON HINDUISM                               65

It is because of my friendship for such men that this chapter
has been so peculiarly painful to write. It may, and probably will*
be construed as an attack on a people. In reality, it is an explana-
tion of them. If it prompts any Indian to retort with an exposure
of the faults of the modern Christian, so much the better. We
could do with the lesson*

A book about India which is not a religious book is not a boot
about India at all,1
This sweeping statement will come as a shock to those whose
opinions about the country have been influenced by the younger
generation of Indian intellectuals, who shine so brightly on
Western lecture platforms. These young men make no embarrass-
ing display of their convictions; their conversation is flavoured
with an amiable agnosticism; and though they do not deny
India's claim to * spiritual leadership9—(for that is admirable
propaganda, particularly in the women's clubs of Chicago)—they
poo-poo the legend of India's 'religiosity,' All this, they suggest,
is a thing of the past; the mists have lifted, the incense has drifted
away, and next door to the temple they are going to bui*d a
municipal swimming bath.
For themselves they are, quite possibly, speaking the truth.
Many of the cub reporters who dog the footsteps of visiting
authors have no religion at all, and are at pains to emphasize the
fact. If you ask them why, in this case, they offer such an
unquestioning allegiance to Mr. Gandhi, who has so often and so
publicly prostrated himself in worship of the Sacred Cow, they
regard you as a tactless person. Which of course you are, for you
1 The reader should understand that in this part of the book the word * India*
refers to Hindu India. Hindus make up the btdk of India's population. There are
240 million of them as opposed to 100 million Muslims and a mere 40 million of
other religions. And though the creed of the Hindu differs from the creM of the
Muslims as sharply as night from day, Hinduism has a curious quality of Colouring
every other creed with which it comes in contact. A good parallel would be 4hat of a
Muslim temple in the middle of a. Hindu jungle. Little by little the jungle en*
croaches, the vines twist round the chaste columns, the courts of Allah are choked
with weeds; only by the utmost vigilance can the guardians of the templn preserve
it. That is what has actually happened in some parts of India, where *he clean,
simple lines of the Muslim creed have been blurred and perverted by "enturies of
Hindu influence.